Sharing Information | Encouraging Engagement

I realize that many people don’t have or make time to attend BOS meetings… yet they are interested in some of the key takeaways. With that in mind, here are some notes that I took regarding the BOS meeting that took place on July 19th.  Please note – these are not meant to be a comprehensive documentation of discussions and decisions that took place.   Here is a link to the online agendas and minutes (when available) for BOS meetings.

Forest Service Update | Tara Jones – USFS already added a number of people to the organization this year and they still hiring.  These additions cover a variety of roles and areas of responsibility.  Additional fire resources are in place as well.  This includes an engine that came all the way from New Hampshire to support efforts in the North Lake area.  Tara is also looking into establishing a Good Neighbor Authority – something that allows the Forest Service to enter into agreements with State, County, and Tribal agencies to perform forest, rangeland, and watershed restoration services on, and adjacent to, National Forest System lands.

Cannabis Update | Sean Connell – 325 submitted appendix c documents, 141 of these are in technical review.  117 incomplete letters, 28 approved licenses, 20 licenses issued, 187 inspections completed.  Three environmental specialists are now in place.  Received 18 complaints (regarding unlicensed operations) this month – 6 have been vetted at this point.  Initial reviews of Appendix C documents take about 12 days, Technical Reviews are taking (on average) 55-60 days.  This is followed by another 40 – 50 days of review, notice, etc.

CAO Update | Letty Garza – Budget reviews are underway.  There is a significant shortfall in funds available vs. departmental budget submissions.  More on this later. PG&E is to provide an update to the BOS during the 8.2.22 meeting.

BOS Updates – Work is underway regarding a Broadband Services initiative that would help the county gain access to grant funding.  The Trinity County Fair was hugely successful – $700,000 was earned through the livestock auction.

Cannabis Ad Hoc Update

  • The sheriff reported only 9 complaints in the last 12 months – all were addressed.  Code compliance efforts resulted in 115 notices of violations and 12 abatements.
  • At this point, there is very limited participation in the public portion of ad hoc committee meetings.  There are still very robust discussions in the private (cultivator) portion of the meetings.
  • No appeals regarding recently-approved cultivation licenses.
  • Discussing a move to bi-monthly meetings (vs. weekly) and feel that we are close to ending the ad hoc committee meetings.

Cannabis Processing Ordinance – a new cannabis ordinance was approved by the BOS.  This ordinance is focused on the processing of cannabis for consumption.  Some highlights are provided below:

  • Limited to areas zoned as commercial, industrial, and agriculture.
  • Odor mitigation in a fully enclosed facility is required in higher density populated areas
  • Not allowed in established opt-out areas and Weaverville historic districts
  • Self-processing is allowed (in any zone) on licensed cultivation sites (only for products grown on-site)
  • Prohibited within 600′ of youth-oriented facilities, schools, churches or residential treatment facilities unless a variance is obtained.
  • Directors Use Permits required for areas zoned agriculture or industrial
  • Conditional Use Permits are required for all other areas

Transient Occupancy Tax Increase – the BOS voted to put forward a ballot measure to increase our TOT rate from 5% to 10%.  This will be on the ballot as a general tax measure.  This means approximately $250,000 will go into the general fund if approved by more than 50% of the votes cast.

County Sales Tax Increase – the BOS did not vote to put forward a ballot measure to impose a county sales tax of .75%.  This type of tax is levied on the sale or use of tangible personal property sold at retail with certain limited exceptions such as many grocery items and medical prescriptions.  The estimated increase in tax revenues from this measure was estimated at $1.1 million annually.

For reference, the following small counties have local sales taxes:

County State Rate County Rate Total Sales Tax
Del Norte 7.25% 0.25% 7.50%
Humboldt 7.25% 0.50% 7.75%
Imperial 7.25% 0.50% 7.75%
Inyo 7.25% 0.50% 7.75%
Mendocino 7.25% 0.625% 7.875%
Nevada 7.25% 0.25% 7.50%
Tulare 7.25% 0.50% 7.75%

CAO Report on $6 Million Budget Shortfall – significant efforts are underway to address the forecasted shortfall.  The county currently has 35 unfilled/budgeted positions.  Services will likely have to be reduced to balance the budget including areas like the Sheriff’s department, Volunteer Fire Department support, etc.  Some services must be maintained by law (such as staffing the jail).

Cannabis Tax for Unlicensed Businesses – The BOS did not vote to put this measure on the ballot.

Cannabis Licensing Guidance to Staff – The BOS responded to a request from Cannabis Department Director, Sean Connell, for guidance on how applications should be prioritized.

Cannabis Retail Ordinance – The BOS completed the 2nd reading of the ordinance voted upon during the prior meeting.  The ordinance was approved and will now take effect in 30 days.

“The definition of Civic engagement is the process of local governments and members of the communities actively working to improve on their community through knowledge, values, skills, and motivation. It is considered essential in relation to community morale and quality of life of the residents.”